Fresh egg pasta or non-egg pasta - which and when?

by Chris
(London, UK)

Dough made with egg (garganelli with tomato sauce)

Dough made with egg (garganelli with tomato sauce)

Dough made with egg (garganelli with tomato sauce)
Dough made without egg (trofie with pesto)

Hello,

Great website!

My question is: what do you think about when you decide to use egg-pasta and pasta made without eggs in?

Is it something to do with the texture or the way the sauce sticks to it?

Thanks!

Chris.

Answer: Great question Chris - if I had a prize for query of the month, you'd win it by a mile! ;-)

There is no one succinct answer to this one.

Often as not, the choice of egg- or non-egg pasta dough comes down to the specific dish in question.

Some regional dishes - such as 'nipped' scialatielli dishes from the Amalfi coast say (to make this see the bottom of this page) - choose a particular pasta dough recipe due simply to tradition.

This tradition often comes down to economics. In that in cases where the dough is egg-free this is usually because in the past the people making it didn't have the money to buy that many eggs (water and flour being about as cheap as it gets). This is often true of dishes from the poorer South of Italy.

Texture-wise, you're right... there is also a texture or behavioural difference between pasta made with or without eggs. Therefore you can make your decision on this basis too.

The egg version is harder and therefore deals with heavy tomato-based sauces better (i.e. bolognese say). While pasta without egg is more suited to oily coverings such as seafood sauces, which don't burden it so much (and don't cause it dissolve into a gloopy mess!).

To get started making these two types of fresh pasta dough, try:

• This egg pasta dough recipe (made with regular or fine flour and eggs)

• This egg-free pasta dough recipe (made with special durum wheat/semolina flour and water)

I hope that helps explain things Chris.

Enjoy your cooking!

Matt.

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